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December 15, 2006

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One other thing that might play into this--the resolution of the Jennings/Buchanan contest. I would imagine the Republicans would be more likely to pull such stunts if the House Dems refused to seat Buchanan.

My thinking is it doesn't matter. All things nuclear require a majority, and they don't have it.

Not only don't they have the majority, they don't have the precedent on their side, either.

Senate Dems may well opt to return the favor of an "escape clause" in the organizing resolution, but I don't see how a filibuster can work in this situation.

Reportedly there are a group of about 15 Republican Senators that Biden has more or less "organized" to support his 8 week set of hearings in the Foreign Affairs Committee, who see their own interests in distancing themselves from Bush/Cheney policy, and are coordinating with the Hearing Plans. Biden mentions Lugar and Hagel as well as Olympia Snow. I don't see them pushing any sort of barrier to the Democrats getting on with Senate Organization, and I frankly see the lack of much comment from Republican Senators on Tim Johnson's illness (as compared to the rabid media) an indication of this. If Biden is right and he has between 10 and 15 coordinating with his plans -- no filibuster.

I actually expect Tim Johnson to be in the Senate to vote on organization. He may still be bandaged, and perhaps in a wheel-chair, but if he is out of the hospital and all, I expect him to appear. Swearing-in day and the vote on organization is not particularly long, and he may well have to disappear for a few months for therapy to get back in best form, but he is a quiet but tough senator, and if he can do it, I expect he will.

The real class case on disabled Senators is Clair Engle of California, who had a brain tumor, and was brought in on a gurney to vote on the cloture resolution to end debate on the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. He voted yes by pointing to his eyes. Aye. He died a month later. Cloture passed by two votes.

I actually think the message of the November election more or less got through. Voters wanted less pointless partisianship, they wanted oversight, and above all, they wanted Congress to get things done. To the degree that Republicans appear to be roadblocks, particularly with regard to a VP at what -- 17%, and a President at 32%, they take the chance of being mopped up and flushed away in the next election. Hell, Congress was only at 13% in a recent poll. They are not going to go to the mat for Bush or Cheney next term.

I don't actually expect resistance from Republicans, either. But articles hinting at it in both Time and the WaPo deserve an answer.

Hmm. A list of 15 Republican Senators lining up to distance themselves from Bush/Cheney, eh? And the list includes Lugar, Hagel and Snowe?

It's taking on the form of another secret and mysterious list I keep, for other purposes.

I think Sara's right. The GOP brand is in crisis right now; the TX-23 result, and Bush's still-declining poll numbers, show that the public's rage was not exhausted on Election Day. A key election is 23 months away, and Stan Greenberg's latest shows the generic Dem with an 18 point lead. Sensible Republicans have to understand they could be looking at 1932 if they don't start making positive moves. Using a technicality like this -- over an ailing man's body -- would do them irreparable damage.

If it were the House, they still might; after all, they impeached a president with a 70% approval rating right after an election that pointed the other direction. But recall, even in that situation, it was the Senate that managed to cool things down. I can't believe there aren't enough intelligent -- or even just fearful -- Senators (Smith, Collins, Specter) who'd put the kibosh on any kind of power grab.

"I don't see how a filibuster can work in this situation."

Yup. I think you're dead on.

There are precedents from when Robert Byrd was Majority Leader.

21 repuglican senators are on the menu in 23 months, and America ain't too happy with repuglican policies right now

Iraq ain't gonna get any better

scooter libby's trial ain't gonna improve the Voter's opinion of repuglicans

so the repuglicans got to chose

do they want to fight for half of Congress now, and assure a smashing defeat in 2008

or do they cut their losses and cooperate with the Democrats in hope that their appeal will increase in the next 23 months

any repuglican tricks in the Senate ain't gonna stop Congressman Waxman, or even interfere with Mr Waxman's investigations

so the repuglicans can take control of the Senate (maybe) and give America a direct comparison between repuglican investigations and Democratic investigations

if the repuglicans were smart, they would avoid such comparisions

but when have the repuglicans done the "smart thing" lately ???

I hope the repuglicans fight, cuz the thought of a Democratic President taking the oath of office with 70 Democratic Senators behind him makes me smile

While of course the MSM is not going to make this observation, this week was actually characterized by the actual members of the Senate seeking to avoid playing into the controversy the media was trying to gin up. A few senators, Reid, Reed and his good friend, Tom Daschel made appearances at the hospital to see the family and the strickened Senator, and for the most part they just re-phrased the latest medical statement, and while Frist showed up -- I suppose to provide intelligence to the Republican Conference and assert his status as Majority Leader one last time -- we really didn't see them getting all involved in the controversy. They apparently went on with their planning for the coming power shift. I suspect ole Karl was calling Fox from the WH saying "gin it up, gin it up" -- but neither R or D Senators bit. Before the November Verdict it would not have played this way. Karl's partisian game is off the table for now, but who knows for how long. While I disagree with Mitch McConnell about nearly everything, he is a lot like Robert Byrd in playing the "Majesty of the Senate" role, and I suspect he had something to do with this week's script. If so, it was a tactical Bush loss.

And apparently the news from GW Hospital continues to be good -- so the finger of blame should be pointed at the media that dug the grave and did a happy dance on the mound of dirt a little prematurely.

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